Take a Dive: Going All-In on One’s Desires

Take a dive and go all-in.

I won’t lie to you. I’ve spent most of life playing it safe. Instead of taking my dreams and goals head on, I’d approach them indirectly. I’ve known for a long time now what I wanted to do with my life. It’s my dream, my calling if you will, to tell stories. My greatest wish is to share my imagination with the world through stories.

You’d think that within all this time that I’ve known, I would have progressed towards that profession in some way. Honestly, I haven’t done anything that is significant long term. Of anything, I have been going the opposite direction. This past week I’ve reflected on the matter and have come up with several reasons why I (and perhaps you) have not been successful in certain ventures.

  • You’re tripping off of what everyone else thinks.

Everyone has an opinion and everyone is entitled to it. That’s America for you. Yay first Amendment! With that said, everyone is going to have something to say no matter you do. No matter who you are people will let you know how they feel about you and your actions. Whether you fail or succeed, the Chatty Cathys and Talkative Toms will be there to spread the word. Therefore, as cliché it sounds, you’ve got to do what’s best for you. In simpler terms, like what Madea says, “It ain’t what people call you. It’s what you answer to.” Oh yes girl, I went there.

Take my approach to my education for example. Currently, I just got my A.A. in sociology. When people asked why I chose sociology for my major, I’d tell them, “Can’t make people laugh if I can’t understand them”. True but if I’m not directly applying the material that I’m learning, it’s just as useless. On paper being a sociology major was a great experience and opportunity to learn about people. Not only that but it also pleased the ‘rents if you catch my drift. In reality though, it was an was a way for me to play it safe instead of going directly after what I really wanted. It was a curtain for me to hide behind. Studying as a sociologist, I was able to learn facts and crack jokes with them every so often. It was somewhat close to what I wanted to do so I went along with it. After all, everyone would tell me that instead of being a storyteller and learning to perform, getting a legitimate degree in sociology would be better when being a storyteller doesn’t work out. I know now that this is incorrect. I can never be a storyteller if I’m too caught up in sociology. Just like a glass of water doesn’t pour itself. If I don’t put in the work to become a storyteller and instead put in the work as a sociologist. Odds are I’ll be a sociologist (and homeless. A little sociology major humor if you will.) Which leads me to another point. . .

  • You’re not prepared.

prepared

Get ready, stay ready. Skill doesn’t appear out of thin air. (Unless you’re playing Sims and use boolprops.) From the simplistic, repetitive ones to complex, applicable ones skills have to be developed. Were you born with the skill to make your own PB&J sandwich? No, you had to learn how to digest solid foods, appreciate the deliciousness of the PB&J, get other people to make it for you, watch them, and practice. Initially, you might make the mistake of using a knife for the jelly and a spoon for the peanut butter, you crazy animal you. Use too much jelly or not enough peanut butter. Both equally terrible sins in the sandwich making community. After a while, you get the hang of it. And when you get to be a professional like myself, it’s now like clockwork. You can even sprinkle some style over it if you wish. I like to use three pieces of bread when I make my sandwiches. You read that right. Sue me. Point is that you’ve got to be willing to put in the work and learn what’s necessary to level up to the next stage.

  • You’re too caught up in what was and/or what isn’t.

Rome was not built in a day and neither was the iPhone. Let us take a moment to fathom the amount of time that has passed in between the two events. Crazy, right? Imagine how people in Roman times would have reacted had they known the possibilities that were open to future generations because of the the decisions that they made on a daily basis. What would you have been like back in those times? Granted, you wouldn’t have the same opinions as you do now during that time. Thus, there has to be a reason why you were born in the time that you were. There’s a reason why you experience what you experience when you experience it. So you can take advantage of the current possibilities and reach your fullest potential. You are here now to experience now. Don’t let it pass you up. And don’t forget to laugh. Laughing gives +2 points towards happiness and success.

happy dance

Re-segregation: A Step in the Wrong Direction

It is impossible not to notice the racial tensions that are growing within the United States as many Black Americas are enduring hardships and navigating their pent-up anger from the accumulation of racial injustices. Black Americans are justified in being fed up with how this country has handled race relations; however, to gain any substantial progress it is essential for the current generation to act wisely and deliberately as did the Civil Rights leaders of the past.  It is imperative that as Americans we understand that hate will not produce love, and that re-segregation will not get rid of inequalities. Recently I read an article on re-segregation where the basis of the article was simply stating that the author was for re-segregation because it would help specific racial communities flourish if that specific racial group were to simply ban together and exclude other racial groups. I disagree with this perspective for various reasons:

1). If people were to re-segregate, than the lines of communication and understanding would close.

It is sociologically proven that people naturally form prejudices, which are reinforced by a person’s social environment such as school, family, neighborhood, media etc. As a result of individual being shaped by society and close individuals around them, prejudices are naturally taught to them. This can be seen through certain images shown in the media such as the “dangerous Black male thug”, or racist jokes or memes told between friends. Such prejudices have real consequences as we have seen in current news headlines about racial profiling. Since people naturally form prejudices, the only way a prejudice can be refuted is by open dialogue and communication. It is known that in this society many fear Black men and women. If Blacks re-segregate, how will people realize that not all Black men and women are loud, angry, criminals looking for a fight? It is up to Blacks and all people of color to desegregate to therefore show that they are kind, intelligent, hardworking and trustworthy just like other racial groups that have those character traits automatically assigned to them. The only reason why the American Society has come so far in regards to racism is because institutionalized segregation was taken down for the most part. During the times where segregation was the norm, black people had no voice. If Blacks re-segregate, than we risk losing our voice. People learn through communication and new interactions and therefore if we de-segregate as much as possible we can reeducate those who accept the lies fed to them from the media and other social influences.

2). Re-segregation rejects everything that many during the 20th century Civil Rights Era fought for.

People gave their lives to eradicate segregation because they personally knew the negative effects it had on communities of color. If people segregate again, it will make it easier for institutionalized racism to perpetuate itself. Since power in this country is still with the White American majority, the images and ideas that are released into society are still controlled by those in power. This means that people of color will continue to not have equal representation or equal access to resources as the white majority does. Re-segregating would only make it easier for those in power to keep people of color down. The phrase “divide and conquer” comes to mind. If those in power are successful in dividing people of color against each other, than there will be no substantive progress. The Civil Rights Era as well as during the times of slavery had people from many racial backgrounds fight for equality. People of color as well as white Americans gave up their lives for racial equality. During those times of everyone (people of color and whites) banning together against institutionalized racism is when the Civil Rights movements were most productive.MEMORY B 08

3). Practice of “racial love” only helps to perpetuate racism.

I read an article explaining how an Asian man only would conduct business with other Asians, which therefore meant that he was practicing “Asian love”. I strongly disagree with this reasoning. Let’s put things into perspective. If a white store owner said “I only conduct business with white business owners”, he would obviously be looked at as a racist, all people of color need to be careful in not doing the same. Doing business with someone should not be contingent or race in general. People should do business with whomever meets the professional qualifications for the job. Hiring anyone or excluding anyone on the basis of race is discrimination.

By being inclusive, people naturally become exclusive. The solution is not to become more inclusive, however less inclusive to give everyone with the talent a chance to be successful. If we take the logic of “Black love, Mexican love, Asian love etc.” and to “engage business only with our own race” than can we really blame whites for doing so all throughout American History. People have already applied the concept of doing business only with “their own”, which is why there is such inequality in the United States today.

4). Desegregation has never fully been accomplished, which is why to some it may seem that desegregation has not worked.

Contrary to popular belief, segregation still exist in the United States, and is still very evident in a variety of social settings. Like I stated before, I attend Sacramento State, which is arguably one of the most diverse campuses in the United States. With this said, I still observe segregation every day. The segregation that I observe is not forced, however chosen by the people who knowingly or unknowingly engage in self-segregation. An example of what I am talking about is how although a campus may have diverse demographics, many tend to spend time with and engage in activities with members of the same race. In order for desegregation to truly be successful, the American society must first truly desegregate, and by doing so it would truly breed a greater understand and a collective push for equality.

Solutions?

Instead of re-segregating, communities need to unite, and not on the basis of race. The problem does not lie in being desegregated, however it lies in the fact that many have adopted the mindset of looking out only for “me and mine” rather than looking to see how they can help those around them and increase the standard of living for all. It is dangerous to believe that in the United States racial groups should simply stick together. The concept of re-segregation should not be adopted because it puts the solution on turning inwards and banning together. To adequately produce a greater understanding open communication with all racial groups is essential to produce lasting results that work for the good of everyone.

I believe that the authors of the articles I have read are actually trying to address a different problem that is within the Black community. Members of the black community should not pull each other down like crabs in a barrel, but rather up lift and support each other. An example of what I mean can be seen in numerous real world examples such as skin tone and hair texture.

Growing up, I have heard many men exclaim “I only date light-skinned Black girls”. This single phrase works to tear down some black members and elevate others within the Black community, and is therefore problematic because it illustrates a blatant rejection of Black qualities such as dark skin, while reaching towards physical White attributes such as light skin.

I read an interesting book by Beverly Tatum called “Why Are all of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”. In her book she stated how spending time with members of your own race is beneficial, however it ultimately depends on the motives. If a person is exclusively spending time with their own race to simply reject all that is associated with another race, than it is counterproductive. However, if a person decides to spend some time with members of their own race to encourage each other regarding racial struggles, than it is beneficial.

Black Americans should share who they are with those who do not understand them, or with those who only know the Black stereotypes shown to them in the media . Doing so would debunk the fearful and negative stereotypes that people have about the black community and in result breed acceptance and understanding from all racial groups. To sum it up, open communication is key, and communication comes from de-segregation and seeking multiracial interactions.

As racial tensions increase in this country, it is important to not self-segregate, but to show the love of Jesus to everyone. To love your enemies and to forgive as we have been forgiven. There is evil in this world, however the Bible says:

Romans

Fashion Friday: Clothing versus Impressions

Is clothing important upon one’s first impression? Let us get them both in the ring and we’ll see which one wins.

Round 1: Defining Who You Are

Imagine you have a date with someone. The person in question tells you where to be and when. Excited, you rush to your closet to find a feasible outfit. You pull out damn near every top you own and place them on your bed. You mix and match them with your pants, skirts, and whatever. “No, that one’s too fancy. They’re not ready for that,” you say. You whip up another combination and try to imagine yourself walking to the location, where he/she will first lay their eyes upon you. Your date turns to face you and their brief smile turns into a confused look. The horror is more than enough to take you aback to reality. You take that outfit and throw it on the floor, “Definitely not that one!” you think, “I actually would like to have a second date. Thank you very much.” Hours fly by and you’re running about of time. You’ve gone through just about every possibility in your closet. You need something real. You need something spectacular and jaw-dropping. You want to walk into the room and have all eyes on you and with good reason. You have a burning need to make a good, no, great first impression.

However, in doing so you have managed to scatter all your clothes all over your bedroom and when you finally have the idea for such a ground-shattering ensemble, you have to play “Where’s Waldo” to find it. This makes you twenty minutes late for your date. You enter the room. All eyes are on you. All eyes are on you because you sprinted into the restaurant in hopes of your date still being there. You see them in back, checking their watch for what was probably the fourth time. In an effort to not look desperate or thirty you make a hard stop meters before you’re in range. “I don’t want them to see me all sweaty and nasty,” you think to yourself. Suddenly, you are on your back looking up at the ceiling. Why? Because in your effort to stop running you ran into a waiter who was holding soap bowls of all types of sauces of all the colors of the rainbow. Now, like you, he is on the ground on top of you. Not to mention that the soups, along with the laws of physics and gravity itself, have taken the liberty to paint themselves all over your outfit of magic. You pull yourself out from under the waiter and jump up. Your heart is racing from the sudden turmoil. Trying to calm yourself down, you take deep breaths and try to dust of the shame. “They didn’t see that,” you try to convince yourself, “They had to have been too far away to notice.” You feel calm and ready to make the most of your first impression. You turn to face your destiny and have met the eyes of your date. That was your first impression.

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I speak for all soup-lovers in attendance today when I say that first impressions have nothing to do with the clothes you were but the person behind the clothes. After all, the clothes themselves wouldn’t be there to begin with if it wasn’t for the person who bought them and are wearing them. That’s like blaming a bad five-course meal on the ingredients instead of the chef. The ingredients were just that. Ingredients just hanging out until the chef mixed them all together.

Results: Clothing-0, Impressions-1

first impression

Fashion Friday: The Revenge of the Prom Dress

Prom. It’s what every girl has dreamed of since she took her first steps on a high school campus. Planning for the magical event begins almost immediately. Any decision had the potential to put you on the map and give you bonus points in terms of hierarchy. In one night, you had the potential to go from invisible to everyone knowing your name—good or bad. Therefore, these decisions felt as if each had its own selection of life-long consequences. Everything from your earrings to your timing of arrival matters. Everything had to be perfect. One of the most important choices it seems (second only to getting your boyfriend to grow four inches so that when you take the portrait, you don’t have to break your spine to get down to his level in the heels that go perfectly with your dress) is the dress itself. Prom-goers say that the dress plays a critical role on the atmosphere of the one’s night. In the right dress, you can dance all night long and look even more pretty as people wait in line to compliment you. With the wrong dress, however, things may not go just as great.

Because I have reputation in staying clear of all trends that only call for one color scheme (I have a three color scheme minimum.) I figured that I’d keep you guys guessing, travel to the other side of the spectrum and observe some prom dress trends for the purposes of research. I was curious to know what these teen gal’s are doing for this uber special event nowadays. I’m sure there’s some scientific and mathematical way to go about it. However, in this day and age where people post everything on social media anyway, I don’t see the point of going past that. So, I did what any other girl with no presence on social media would do, I used someone else’s page. Despite my lack of social interaction-on and offline-in essentially all things relating to people my age, my brother is quite the social butterfly. That in itself fascinates me. How two siblings can grow up in the same household and be polar opposites I wonder? Anyway, that’s another topic for another time. The point is that I got to observe these high school girls in their natural habitat and I got the—uh, how do they say it? The scoop.

Ombre

Pretty blues
Pretty blues

Ah, ombre. I love it. It reminds me of an artist with the right amount of temper and inability to make a decision. “I’m going to pain the ocean,” he says, “I have to use all these blues. But which one do I use first?” Twenty-two seconds later, “Dammit! This one’s darker than the rest of them! I have to start all over now!” Then he smears the blues together in one fell swoop out of frustration instead of taking two days to gradually blend them together like any artist struggling with perfectionism and boredom would have done. And that children was how ombre was born.

Ombre is awesome because the possibilities and boundaries are limitless. Want to use more than one color? Wonderful. Want to make the transitions diagonal instead of horizontal? Even better. Ombre can easily be tailored to any specific event, taste, or idea. Ombre has many freedoms and freedom is something I could get behind.

Metallic

Caution: Stay clear of metal detectors at times.
Caution: Stay clear of metal detectors at all times.

Based on how much this generation is dependent on technology, it doesn’t surprise me at all that we have begun to take that inspiration to our fashion world. Inspiration is what you experience. Therefore, if you are experiencing texting your girlfriends every 2.3 seconds about Jeremy and the rest of your free time is spent staring at your phone waiting for Jeremy to text you back, it was only a matter of time before you adopted the color scheme of your Apple iPhone. Whether you’re doing it subconsciously or on purpose, I’m still going to talk about it because I find it interesting.

With that said, the verdict is in and so are metallic-looking fabrics and colors. Who wants to shine like a diamond when you could easily shine like a brand-new nickel. Silver is much more suited to my undertone than blinding-strangers-for-no-reason anyhow. Just add some smokey eyes and you too can be a life-size Samsung Galaxy!

Sequins (Pronounced see-quansss)

Making it rain from the bust to the waist. Sequins  add a twist of elegance to dress, I think so anyway.
Making it rain from the bust to the waist. Sequins add a twist of elegance to dress, I think so anyway.

Speaking of blinding strangers for no reason at all, sequins are making a come back also. If you ask me, I didn’t know that sequins ever went out of style. But then again, nobody ever asks me anyway. Maybe that was why I was never asked?

When I think of sequins, I think of baby disco balls. With nurturing love and care, they too can grow up big and strong to be those humongous disco balls in the movies. All I’m saying to the people who are going this route, treat them with care. Give those baby groovy angels the respect that they deserve and keep the hazardous behavior to a minimum. When’s the last time you met a four year old that wasn’t traumatized from being dragged into a place with loud music, tight space, and witnessed people basically having sex with clothes on, if that? If you have, that child is not a child but a grown man with Benjamin Button disease. You should have known something wasn’t right when he offered you candy from his van outback.

With these in mind, I hope that you don’t just follow these ongoing trends. Rather use them as a basis for discovering and defining your own personalstyle. To the gals out there scrambling to find the perfect dress that you think people would like to see you in, bump those people. Wear what you want to. If anyone else tells you otherwise, give me their address so I can TP their house. In all seriousness, like what I tell everyone whether you’re the mind behind Gucci or some random stranger waiting patiently to cross the street alongside me, fashion is freedom. Don’t just wear anything, wear you.

And don’t forget to have a fantastical prom! If you’ve already experienced prom, may there be a time machine in your future.

Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin

Killing Our Black Community

Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Oscar Grant, Rodney King, Malice Green, Renisha McBride and several others all have one thing in common. They have all died to either police brutality or because of some malicious acts caused by some insensitive human beings. It seems our black community is dying at such an alarming rates. These names have began to slowly fade away because mainstream media  doesn’t want us to remember these individuals. It is truly sad that we have reverted back to the 1940s where segregation was running rapid in the cities. If you honestly, think about it we are reliving past times. Marching, rioting, protesting and demanding justice for fallen angels who were unarmed targets to police who treated them like animals.  But when we are losing four or more African Americans within a month or two of it self it’s incredibly ridiculous.

Mike Brown unarmed teen, shot down by police
Mike Brown

Michael Brown, was an unarmed teen, who was shot down by the hands of the police due to  an alleged robbery. He was supposed to start college in a couple of weeks.

 

 

John Crawford fatally shot because he was carrying a toy gun at Wal-Mart
John Crawford

John Crawford, was a young father of 22 years of age that was fatally shot in the chest after failing to adhere to officers orders of dropping his BB gun which he planned to purchase from Walmart.

 

 

Eric Garner
Eric Garner

Eric Garner, was a family man who suffered from asthma, officers tried to arrest him and while he resisted, they threw him to the ground and placed him in a chokehold. Garner, while in no position to move, cried out that he couldn’t breathe and tried to reach for an inhaler while officers mistakenly took for a gun. His death was ruled a homicide and video has now become viral.

Renisha McBride
Renisha McBride

Renisha McBride, was a young lady who crashed her car in the middle of the night, and was seeking help, knocked on the door and window of a middle age Caucasian man at his Dearborn Heights home, in Michigan. The shooter Theodore Wafer, fired through the door, which McBride endured a shot to the face. Wafer has just been convicted for second degree murder, manslaughter, and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony. He was found guilty on all three charges on August 7, 2014.

Ezell Ford
Ezell Ford

Ezell Ford, a mentally ill man, who was walking down the street while he was stopped by police for investigation. According to reports, Ford wrested with cops and attempted to grab an officers gun. The backup officers shot him, while the other officer while wrestling with Ford shot him and he later died.

Dante Parker
Dante Parker

Dante Parker, was tased by a female police officer after she mistakenly identified him as a burglary suspect, because he supposedly fit the description of someone who did,  because he was riding a bike, just as the actual suspect was. But the family man, worked 12 years at a Daily Press Paper as a pressman in their production department. Comments from family friends and co-workers say Parker often rode his bike, to lose weight and stay healthy, that he’d many times could be found running up and down stairs, and simply being a family man. He was apprehended by police who tased him because she felt he was resisting arrest meanwhile in the back seat of the police car Parker had difficulties breathing, so they rushed him to the hospital, but he like many others, also died.

There are so many faces that have died to foolishness. Why aren’t these cops, and citizens prosecuted through the fullest extent of the law? If anything they are forced to step down and take on desk duty. The worse part is no one cares enough about the black community. I can say Reverend Al Sharpton comes and speaks out about the injustices we face. But where all the influential voices in music and film. These are the people that can change the opinions of our young people. We watch young people spend hundreds of dollars on products and clothes from rich and successful entertainers yet when incidents like this happen we rarely hear anything from them. Now I am not saying it is their responsibility. But an injustice in an urban community is an injustice anywhere. Perhaps, their music could influence some type of change. Since we know the influence of Hip Hop already has on the young black community.

I don’t know when the killings of Blacks will ever end. But what I do know there is no respect at all in the black community. They are finding  new ways to kill us off.  If we aren’t killing each other, they’re murdering us. Until we decide to finally come together and unite as a community we will continue to get treated like animals with no voice. We have to remember the words and actions of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hopefully, one day people will finally see us as ordinary people with thoughts, feelings and opinions just like anybody else. I pray for a day where we aren’t victims of racial profiling and truly respected individuals of society.

Remember, YOU MATTER, Let’s Stop Injustice

Black America: A Documentary Film

Documentary Filmmaker Randall Rydell Russell
Documentary Filmmaker Randall Rydell Russell

BLACK AMERICA: A DOCUMENTARY FILM BY RANDALL RYDELL RUSSELL

Sacramento Filmmaker Randall Rydell Russell brings us a documentary about the struggles and search for hope in America when people still judge by the color of our skin. Black America will be released later this year.

Concerns For the Future

By Randall Rydell Russell

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We live in a day in age where everyone wants everything right and now without having to answer to anybody. But this epidemic is showing it’s true colors through our youth. Most kids between 9 and 17 in low income areas are becoming more drawn to drugs, fighting and violence than usual. Kids smoking pot, drinking and engaging in sex is nothing new, but the ages of the ones starting are getting worse.

Most of these kids are being raised by parents who are barely 30 and they themselves are the products of bad upbringing and they have instilled these mindsets onto their children, giving most people who have their stuff together bad views on these kids.

Here’s the thing coming from an at risk youth myself, you have to find your balance or thing you’re good at that’s positive and embrace it in a big way. That can be anything from art, filmmaking, music, sports, agriculture to maybe even helping other kids like I did.

The one thing these kids need to understand is that the world isn’t against you unless you put yourself in the situation to not be helped. To the point you are so disillusioned with what you’ve learned that that is the only thing that crosses your mind, leading to a life of crime, debauchery and violence.

We have to do better in this world or our next generation will see the crumbling of society. There is hope left in this world people. We just have to be strong enough to dig deep and find it. If  I can make it, anyone can.

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Young Urban Voices

From Publisher Janae Marie

 Mission Statement

cropped-yuv-banner.jpg

 To create a platform that will entertain, educate, and inform young adults that are interested in sharing their unique story with the world because…WE HAVE A VOICE TOO!

 Core Values

 To shed light on the positive news of African American youth and young adults that gets swept under the rug or overlooked by general media. 

 

 krystle

Author, Publisher and Producer Janae Marie,

“Young Urban Voices,” magazine coming soon.